Friday, February 05, 2016

Bewilderment

This is the feeling since I came back. First, I could not believe the visible degradation in supplies in a mere ten days. Today I did my first grocery shopping with my usual non regulated price items and it was, I kid you not, at least 25% above what I paid last time. More worryingly, since I still can afford for the time being, my deli was out of all but the strict basics. That is, no salami, no biscotto ham, etc...That already meager shelf when compared to more civilized countries was simply empty.

But the bewilderment was stronger as I started catching up with the politics. Oh my, oh my....

So many things have happened that it would be too long to come back on them. We had, for example, a show of force from the real owners of the jail systems, the pranes also known as "negative leaders". These mafia-thug-narco-whatever characters come and go from jail where they reside because, well, it is safer for them to reside in there. More protection from their body guards. One, "el conejo", the rabbit, went to a party and was shot on his way back to jail. Margarita was in turmoil as the pissed off inmates displayed even war weaponry with the public order unable to do much about it. Another one in Maracay got his lieutenant shot and demanded that the northern part of Maracay observe mourning the day of the funeral. All shops and schools had to close down, the police and army unable to protect them from the wrath of his supporters.

But that is not the only place where the regime is making water. On the political front it is not doing so good either. The opposition MUD is slowly but surely putting Maduro in a legal trap that will force this one to either kick the table and make a coup, or leave office. This is actually not hard: the National Assembly has simply started to doing its job which includes a review of laws, and its controlling function of holding hearings to ask ministers how the money is spent. That alone is sending the regime in a frenzy. Ministers are courting "desacato" which means that they are refusing to attend normal hearings (in particular the son in law of Chavez who probably thinks he is royalty) and thus risk sanctions that could go as far as brief jail stints.

Vituperation against the Assembly is reaching new heights, which is not good because the backroom negotiations that we know are taking place could be irremediably damaged. But then again this is what the pro Cuban radicals and the narco corrupt sectors want. The highest shriek was this week when Maduro publicly insulted in the vilest form Lorenzo Mendoza of the Polar group who had been too polite when he sent the message that the crisis was too bad to keep going at these silly games the regime was playing. The insults included direct threats. Threats also came from Diosdado Cabello.

What can we make of this?

First, the obvious, the regime is out of arguments and thus it uses procacious and violent words to silence adversaries. Classical. But if Chavez with oil at 100 could get away with it; Maduro with empty shelves and dead babies cannot.

Clearly there is a tug of war inside the regime that explains that exasperation, that refusal for any type of negotiation, or even recognition from the "establishment" of the regime towards the MUD. From their growing loss of privileges to the progressive realization that a lot of them will have to face the consequences of years of looting and assorted misdeeds comes that growing despair and political mistakes. I know, I have already stated such many times but I think this time it is different, the ground is shifting fast inside chavismo as the crisis is leaving no respite.

This is what I think is going on.

Maduro is the voice of Cuba. They are probably already not receiving the cash they used to receive but the Venezuelan situation now makes it nearly impossible to keep sending them anything. Either we starve or they do. I doubt that the military will accept to shoot at food riots to allow Maduro to keep sending Cuba's allowance. But the army has been infiltrated by a Cuban security. How do you deal with that?

Cabello and the narcos have rallied Maduro because at this point they have no other choice. For all practical purpose the National Assembly loss per se did not undo Cabello, the magnitude of the loss did it. You do not survive such a rejection and thus he is everyone's favorite scapegoat.

But the regime has again wasted precious time, two solid months without any sensible economic measures and things got worse. In fact we are learning that they are importing expensive and useless banknotes that will push further inflation while the remaining gold reserves are been negotiated to postpone by a couple of months default. The drop of Venezuelan bonds indicate clearly that all expect default before the end of the year. In other words, it is clear for all that the regime will not change its policies. It does not want to. It cannot do it. It would not know how to do it. And it does not has the people to do it anyway. We are stuck. Regime change or massive repression are the only options.

The MUD opposition, give or take a few, is doing the only thing it can do, stay as close as possible to the law. That is enough to push the regime over the brink. It has offered to negotiate a deal but it takes two to negotiate and this apparently will not happen now. Two months after the election surely we would have seen some semi solid evidence. No? Thus the opposition keeps pushing, opening the cracks inside chavismo, hoping, against all hope?, that some sensible group emerges.

One thing is certain, any civil war that may start will not start from the opposition but within chavismo. The opposition has no weapons, the factions of the regime have. Look at what happened with the pranes armies these past couple of weeks. They can start a war if they want. And the army knows that very well.

Meanwhile the army is deciding whether it will allow Cuba to starve Venezuelans.

This all will be played rather fast, if you ask me. We are talking weeks here.

Stay bewildered. It will help.



13 comments:

  1. Very good. Buy iodine if you can find it. It can be used to disinfect drinking water, avoid infections.

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  2. Anonymous4:13 AM

    Venezuela may soon become another Somalia :/ Socialists at their finest.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Charly9:15 AM

    Good post. The role of the army in all this mess is always understated. Yet they are the most corrupt spineless lot in Venezuela, "la casta de los cabrones" and the main culprits of all this mess. Most of the current thieves and drug dealers rose through its rank. And watch it, when push comes to shove, they will all raise in unison as a single body: "Yo no fui". Scumbags. Yet, in Venezuela this is unmentionable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least we can mention it here 😆

      Delete
  4. Anonymous11:05 AM

    I hope that when the rebuilding from the ashes occurs that there is a serious discussion about eliminating the army and going the route of Costa Rica. From my understanding of Venezuelan history, nothing good has ever come from these malandros.
    Caracas Canadian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very good point about abolishing the army. If only more countries were like Costa Rica.

      Delete
  5. Boludo Tejano11:56 AM

    At least we can mention it here.

    Por ahora. :)

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  6. Anonymous4:18 PM

    Stay bewildered. It will help.

    Stealing that! :)

    HalfEmpty
    .5mt

    ReplyDelete
  7. "I doubt that the military will accept to shoot at food riots to allow Maduro to keep sending Cuba's allowance. But the army has been infiltrated by a Cuban security. How do you deal with that?"

    Cuba will have to be cut-off. But the problem is the top, Corrupt military is afraid going to JAIL for drug traffic, or at the very least lose their stolen millions, mansions, yachts, and apartments worldwide.

    That's what people often forget, and what was not mentioned on this post: Pa donde van a cojer? Where are they gonna run to? They are all complicit, and if they lose power, people will begin to sing, the DEA will notice, the FBI, the Swiss banks, Andorra Banks, Caribbeans banks will be notified.

    It's not that easy to get 3 new passports, a new face, new dental records, and fly off to New Zealand, when you can't even speak English.

    The top 1000 Thieves in Cleptozuela will put up a fight, and very few will leave the country. Can you picture Cilia in Paris for the winter cold season? Where is she gonna hide? And the Military Top Thieves: Are they going to Rome or Uruguay or China or Cuba? With their Criollo extended Families? Of course not. Understand that.

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    Replies
    1. "Pa donde van a cojer?"

      Un tiradero? :-)

      Delete
  8. As far as "el pueblo" in Venezuela.. Remember 5 Million or more are Super-Enchufados. 40% still are hooked up with the Criminal Regime. Free house, free everything, no real job, Guisos y mas Guisos. And then, 70% of the "wise" and "honest" and "hard-working" Pueblo People still Love and Adore Chavez and Chavismo. Very short memories. Nor very bright. Uneducated. Millions and Millions. That's what no one likes to admit. It's politically incorrect..

    Well, those same Millions and Millions of very "wise" "Pueblo" people will soon get even more pissed off when the Economy continues to get 10 Times Worse. When the Freebies and Guisos dry out. Cuando se acabe la parranda. Inflation will hit 700%. The Escasez will be even worse than what Daniel is reporting here. The dollar will reach $1200. The Chinese won't lend a penny more. Oil will keep going down, to the tune of 15$/barrel. And the debt won't be paid, thus the inevitable Default, this year.

    The MUD has to let the shyt hit the fan, so that the "wise" "pueblo" understands who is to blame for the Debacle. If they knock off Maduro/Cabello too soon, the "wise pueblo" will soon forget, and blame the MUD, and Chavismo will resuscitate under many forms in no time. Because that's how educated, smart, well-informed our "pueblo" really is. Let the whole thing implode, let the people hit the streets, and then, in a couple years, maybe Leopoldo can start fixing the mess. Not his fault.

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  9. With a reasonable government, loans could be had based on future earnings. The split in the opposition between "cohabitation" and regime change is still strong. You hear lots of rumors of opposition politicians backed by "economic actors" who always remain unnamed. But I honestly think it is more an issue of legality vs leadership. Seeing that Chavez was a disaster born of his Caudillo status, the opposition wants to hit all the constitutional paces knowing full well that they are the only party that is actually playing by the constitution. The only thing that the MUD has going for it is the overwhelming ELECTORAL victory which chavistas still ignore and insist that they are the only TRUE voice of the People. So if chavistas don't respect the constitution and they don't respect clear electoral victories then.... What is left? The street and the army. I suppose. Replay 2002. One million people on the streets vs Maduro and the Plan Avila. March to Miraflores and demand his resignation. Is that too much to ask for? I personally don't believe that Venezuelans have the stomach for civil was a la Colombia, Nicaragua, El Salvador, etc. But even a slight glance at Siria and what the impact of a recalcitrant dictatorship can do to utterly destroy a country is sobering. Timing is everything. Venezuela still has a modicum of cohesion and institutionally but what happens if the "Pranes" and their political allies start to dismember the territory based on their financial and terrorist weight?

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  10. Gabriel, when has Vzla has a "reasonable government". All it has ever had is OIL at great prices, plus 1.5 Million educated professional who got the hell outta there. With very few exceptions, none of the brightest will ever return. Now do the math. Cleptozuela is Screwed, for 3 decades. Or maybe just 2. If the IMF lends a a hand.

    ReplyDelete

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